The European Parliament will vote next week on whether to strengthen the proposal for Europe’s key climate law, the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) – or ‘Climate Action Regulation’, the name agreed by the environment committee. MEPs will be asked to back a more ambitious starting point than the European Commission’s proposal and to close some loopholes to ensure member states actually reduce their emissions.
Germany’s highest civil court has confirmed that city councils have the right to ban dirty diesel cars from city centres to bring air pollution down to legally required limits. In a landmark double-ruling on 27 February, the Federal Administrative Court (BVG) said cities are entitled to ban the most polluting engines, in fact they must do so if that is the most effective measure to reduce pollutants, particularly nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
There are growing calls for a green tax shift to the transport sector, which would help fill a gap in the EU’s budget after the UK leaves. A T&E analysis has found new measures such as a carbon tax on motor fuels, aviation kerosene duty, and ending the VAT exemption for flights within and from Europe would raise more than €50 billion annually. And last week, as EU leaders discussed the looming gap, 17 eminent economists rowed in behind the idea, calling it a ‘once in a decade opportunity’ to create a fossil-fuel contribution to the EU budget.
Moving from fossil-fuel powered vehicles to ones driven by renewable energy will create 206,000 net additional jobs in Europe by 2030, a new study has found. The shift to zero-emission vehicles will drive an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of 0.2% a year in the EU and slash the bloc’s oil imports by €49 billion in 2030, according to the analysis by Cambridge Econometrics for the European Climate Foundation.
Small electric vans now cost the same to own as diesel vans – but there simply aren’t enough of them available to bring about the improvements in air pollution and reduced CO2 emissions that the technology allows for. That is the conclusion of a study for T&E which highlights how the EU’s reluctance to adequately regulate the vans’ emissions and use is now slowing emissions reductions.
Transport has taken over from power generation as the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US – and the situation is likely to get worse as the Trump administration plans to weaken emissions standards. T&E says the policy will only damage US carmakers. Transport has been the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in Europe since 2016.
Europe’s only government that does not tax diesel fuel more favourably than petrol has gone a step further by increasing tax on diesel engine cars while leaving it unaltered for petrol cars. In his annual budget speech, the British chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister) said new diesels that failed to pass the strictest emissions tests would pay more tax each year. T&E said the announcement was more important for its symbolism than its financial impact.
T&E’s German member DUH has won a historic victory over Volkswagen (VW) in the German courts. The judgement grants DUH (German Environmental Assistance) the right to criticise VW’s emissions data and make related statements after the carmaker had tried to silence DUH. The court said the freedom to express an opinion takes precedence over the economic interests of a company.
An attempt at a ‘clean’ diesel comeback in Germany this month has been wrecked by claims that the country’s carmakers ran a cartel to bring down the cost of various components and technology – including on cutting emissions.